Spiritual Rants: July 8 “Getting Agrippa On Things” Readings to read through the Bible in a year: 1 Chronicles 5:18-6:81 Acts 26:1-32 Psalm 6:1-10 Proverbs 18:20-21

Old Testament:  1 Chronicles 5:18-6:81

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1 Chronicles 5:18-6:81   A Reuben And A Pickle

Chapter 5 continues to trace the genealogy of Reuben from yesterday’s reading.  You might remember that Reuben was the first born and heir of Abraham (through Jacob) but lost his birthright because he committed adultery with his father’s concubine (cf. Gen. 35:22).  In v. 1 we’re told that Joseph replaced Reuben as the prime heir but in verse 2 we are told that “a ruler” proceeded.  It is a prophecy of the Messiah, Jesus, who came from the tribe of Judah.

Chapter 6 continues with the genealogy of Reuben, then Levi.  From the Levites came the professional musicians (v. 31ff).  God expects the very best in worship and that includes music.

New Testament:  Acts 26:1-32

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Acts 26:1-32  Rising To The Occasion

Paul spoke before Felix and his wife, Drusilla (cf. 24:24).  She was the daughter of Herod Agrippa I and the sister of Herod Agrippa II.  She was the  great granddaughter of Herod the Great (who slaughtered the innocent babies referenced in Matt. 2:14).  So Drusilla had pedigree.  Felix had a bad reputation amongst the people for forcing Drusilla’s divorce from her previous husband.  King Agrippa gave counsel to Felix on Jewish affairs since he was not only the current Jewish king but also a relative.

Paul was eager to present the gospel to the Jewish king and all assembled for the great occasion.  He said . . .

1)  He was glad to make his defense before Agrippa since Agrippa had such a great knowledge of Judaism

2)  Paul gave his resume, that he was strict Pharisee who believed in the promises made by Yahweh to Israel and the resurrection of the dead

3)  Paul had previously persecuted Christians and had been assenting to their deaths.  He raged at them and tried to cause them to blaspheme.

4)  Paul recounted his conversion on the road to Damascus and how he was struck down by the light and met Jesus.

5)  Paul was told by Jesus that he was being sent to both the Jews and Gentiles to turn them from Satan to God and to receive forgiveness of sins.

6)  Paul said he was seized in the Temple for announcing that what the Prophets and Moses had predicted had finally arrived.  He was saying that the Messiah, Jesus, had suffered as prophesied and risen from the dead as proof of hope for both Jews and Gentiles.   Paul always preached the Resurrection as central to his message as we should also.

7)  Festus interrupted Paul, screaming that Paul was crazy and his great learning had driven him nuts.

8)  Paul said he wasn’t out of his mind but that the king knew that all of the events he talked about had taken place.

9)  Paul asked if Agrippa believed the prophets.  Agrippa told Paul that he wouldn’t be able to convince him about Christ in such a short time.

10)  Paul answered that he hoped everyone would believe as he did but not have to be locked up as he was.

11)  After Paul was finished, the king and governor and his wife discussed what Paul was saying.  They all agreed he would’ve been able to be set free except that he had appealed to speak before Caesar.  Jesus had told Paul he would go to Rome (Acts 23:11).  This situation was God’s way to deliver him there safely.  If Paul had been sent back to Jerusalem or set free, he no doubt would have been killed.

 

Psalm 6:1-10  Sheol No   A Penitential/Lament Psalm By David

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Psalm 6:1-10  Sheol No

David is in a bad mood . . . again.  You would be too if you were being chased around by your son who had ripped your kingdom away from you (check out 2 Sam. 17 esp. v. 24).

David believes he is being punished by God and is asking for mercy (v. 1)

He’s feeling sick, either physically or emotionally and spiritually (v. 2-3, this psalm was possibly written when he was sick after his son by Bathsheba died, cf. Ps. 51).  Even his “bones” are feeling sick (v. 2).  He’s “pining” away (“feint” NIV, remember the witch at the end of the Wiz was melting?).

He’s doing the “how long” thing again (v. 3, remember Ps. 4:2?).  He uses the argument that he can’t praise God in Sheol, the holding tank for the dead in the OT, if God allows him to be offed (v. 5).  He appeals to God’s hesed, His covenant love (v.4, “unfailing love” NIV, “lovingkindness”  NASB).

He’s really, really not feeling well (vv. 6-7).

He tells those who are after to him to scat (v. 8) because He knows God has heard his plea (v. 9).

Once again the psalmist starts by whining but then remembers Who God is and then ends up trusting Him.

Once again, can you end in trust?

 

Proverbs 18:20-21  Looking For Life In All The Wrong Places

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People should eat more fruit these days.  In fact, they should eat even more vegetables than fruit.  We should be harvesting them ourselves.

That’s not really what this verse is about.  But it should be.  It means that whatever a man sows, he will also reap (v. 20, cf. Gal. 6:7).  If you eat healthy, you will be healthy.  If you speak healthy words to others, you will be healthy spiritually.  And  you won’t mind so much if you have to eat your own words!

Yesterday, I went to a movie and was talking to the theater manager about five feet away from the concessions counter.  A lady was ordering and stopped to rebuke us for talking “so loud that she couldn’t hear” the clerk.  I had been talking only a couple minutes and had just finished.  So I turned to her and said, “NOT ANY MORE!”  I thought she had been pretty rude though I know I can talk a bit loudly.  I think it’s another sign of the end times.  People can be so self-centered and rude these days!

I don’t mean to be a fatist, since I am overweight, but I could tell she was into herself quite a bit.  She had reaped what she has sown.

I wish I could have talked to her.  But I didn’t get the impression she would listen to me.

Here is what is the most sad about it all.  There are so many people that are into their own comfort these days, it is almost impossible to reach them with the gospel (cf. Luke 18:25).  It does not mean that we should stop trying to spread the Gospel (cf. How To Be Sure You’re Going To Heaven – “no fine print, no caveats,” right-hand side column).

There is plenty of death in people’s mouths these days (v. 21).  Movies, TV, ballgames, school, office, you name it.

There is a lot of life in people’s language, if you look hard enough for it.  But you really have to look for it (cf. Jer. 29:13; Matt. 7:7).

An old friend of mine used to tell me not to utter a “bad confession.”  I think he overdid things a bit.  But there is a lot of truth in what he said.  I have to ask myself, “Is there life in what I say?”

 

Choose Life: Scripture: Acts 26:28    NASB    “Getting Agrippa Things”

“Agrippa replied to Paul, ‘In a short time you will persuade me to become a Christian.'”    Acts 26:28

 

The most important thing about evangelism is to stick to the point.  The point is to present Christ.  It is not important how many angels can fit on the head of a pin or what will happen to the pagans in the jungle who haven’t heard the name of Christ or why a good God would send some people to Hell.  It might be important to answer a few questions people might have but often the questions are just stalls.  People often don’t want to get to the point.  They are “under conviction” (cf. John 16:8) and they are trying to get from under their guilt.  But they don’t want to necessarily do it the right way.  The right way is to trust Christ.

Our verse today should have a question mark at the end of the sentence.  Most versions place one there but, if not, it is certainly implied.  Paul’s approach is a good one for us.  He gave his testimony.  He himself had tried to escape the conviction of the Holy Spirit.  Jesus said he had been “kicking against the goads” (v. 14).   Goads are the pointy sticks used to prod animals.  God had been prodding Paul but he kicked back at the pointy sticks.  That was Paul’s story and he was sticking to it as he related it to King Agrippa.

But he was also sticking to the point.  Agrippa got the point.  And he was stuck.  He knew the object of Paul’s talk was to persuade him to accept Christ.  Paul didn’t spend a long time making his point.  Paul used only a short time.

Peter tells us we should be ready to present answers for what we believe (1 Pet. 3:15) and we should study to be ready with those answers.  But when presenting the gospel, it is not necessary to spend a lot of time on all those answers before getting to the point.  You can just goad people toward Christ and ask them to trust Him.

 

If you do, you will find that you are choosing life (Deut. 30:19)!

Fun Application:  

Every Christian should know what the Gospel is.  You can use my blog, The Gospel as a guide.

I have been amazed how many most Christians are not able to articulate the way to be saved.   A good gospel presentation should include something about 1)  how  we’ve sinned (Rom. 3:23) and offended an all-holy God, 2)  that Christ paid the penalty for our sin (Rom. 5:8; 6:23), and 3)  everyone needs to personally trust Christ (Rom. 10:9b, 10a).

The Bible is about how God wants a love relationship with us.  That means that we show that we understand His love and reflect His love back to Him (cf. 1Jn. 4: 19) by choosing Him.  Not having choosing in the equation goes against the grain of all of the teaching of the Bible.  God has given us The Book so we will relate to Him, love Him, and know what He wants us to know in that relationship!

Christ should be the goad, I mean goal, of a gospel presentation.  It is also the point of the Bible (that’s why it ends with the Revelation of Jesus Christ).

What is the goal of your life?

What is the goal of your gospel presentations?

Here is your challenge.  Develop a presentation of the gospel that includes the most important Scriptures and perhaps your own story of how you came to be goaded to make Christ the goal of your life (cf. 1 Cor. 2:2; Col. 2:2; 3:10, 14).  When you give the gospel, don’t forget to goad people to make Christ their goal.

 

 

 

The purpose of the “Choose Life” is to pick a positive help out of the One Year Bible (OYB) reading plan for the day. There is always something positive in the Word of God to cheer us and give us strength. For more on today’s reading, check out my One Year Bible blog:   A Reuben And A Pickle

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